Doubts grow about morality of the German bishops’ decision to allow the morning after pill to be used in Catholic hospitals

Last year the Bishops Conference of Germany decided to allow Catholic hospitals to dispense the ‘morning-after pill’ in cases of victims of rape, justifying their decision by arguing that some ‘morning-after pills’ are not abortifacient.  A new US report has concluded that morning after pills marketed as only being contraceptive can also act as abortifacients.

LifeSite News reports:

‘A new paper released today by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) compiles new evidence showing that emergency contraceptives can operate as abortion-inducing drugs. Author Susan E. Wills, JD, LLM, examines the latest scientific studies and explains how IUDs and so-called “morning after pills” have been shown to occasionally prevent newly created embryos from implanting in the uterine wall, therefore facilitating early abortion.

The report looks at the current state of the science regarding the three most common types of emergency contraception available in the United States: the Copper-T IUD (marketed as ParaGard® T 380A Intrauterine Copper Contraceptive), Ulipristal acetate (marketed as Ella® and ellaOne®), and levonorgestrel EC or LNG-EC (marketed as Plan B®, Plan B One-Step® and Next Choice®).

“As we await a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the HHS mandate, this timely research sheds light on the fundamental difference between abortion and the prevention of pregnancy.  These are simply not the same and we can only have a good outcome when the terms are properly understood,” said Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute. “This review of the newest research confirms the Obamacare mandate as a blunt and sweeping assault on the freedom of conscience of those who oppose the killing of human embryos.”

Given the dangers to the future of conscience rights posed by the Affordable Care Act, an honest debate over the ‘contraception mandate’ is a necessity,” concludes author Susan E. Wills, JD, LLM. “Numerous studies have shown that the most popular emergency contraceptives can cause the death of embryos. For the sake of full and accurate informed consent for patients and for the sake of the integrity of the medical profession and research community, this reality must be acknowledged.  Only then will we be able to make informed decisions about our personal healthcare and healthcare policy.”

In August 2011, Department of HHS Secretary Sebelius herself said that the mandate includes drugs that are “designed to prevent implantation” of embryos, causing abortion.’

At the time of the German bishops decision to allow the morning-after pill to be dispensed from Catholic hospitals a leading world expert warned that the morning after pill could act as an abortifacient:

‘Though some recent studies of the drug have suggested it does not act as an abortifacient, one of the world’s top authorities on the drug says women must be told that it “may at times” cause an abortion.

“To make an informed choice, women must know that [emergency contraceptive pills] … prevent pregnancy primarily by delaying or inhibiting ovulation and inhibiting fertilization, but may at times inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg in the endometrium,” writes Dr. James Trussell, Director of Princeton’s Office of Population Research, in an academic review on the drug dated February 2013 and co-authored with Dr. Elizabeth G. Raymond.

Still there is a vested interest in having the pills deemed contraceptive-only. A  2012 study in the journal Contraception aiming to show that the drug is not an abortifacient acknowledges that concerns about the abortifacient effect is “one of the main barriers” to a wider distribution of the drug. The paper’s lead author acts as an advisor on the drug to pharmaceutical companies that produce it.

Protect the Pope comment: The President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, explains the Church’s teaching on care for victims of rape as follows, ‘What Church teaching says in this case is: in cases of rape all possible action must be taken to prevent a pregnancy but not to interrupt it. Whether a given medicine is classed as a contraceptive or abortion-inducing medication, is up to doctors and scientists, not the Church.”  As scientific evidence grows that the  morning-after pill is abortifacient will the German bishops reconsider their decision to allow Catholic hospitals to dispense the morning after pill?

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/new-study-proves-all-emergency-contraception-can-cause-early-abortion?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=1a9162d0cd-LifeSiteNews_com_Intl_Headlines_06_19_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0caba610ac-1a9162d0cd-326240826

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/top-vatican-official-calls-german-bishops-approval-of-morning-after-pill-ex

14 comments to Doubts grow about morality of the German bishops’ decision to allow the morning after pill to be used in Catholic hospitals

  • roger.

    I think that perhaps the German Bishops were thinking of the consequences of abuse, especially pertinent following yesterdays revelations at the UN on abuse by priests. There is also a need to focus on the protection from abuse of those born who become innocent victims in the very place that is so rightly vociferous in it’s desire to protect the unborn.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    I believe that conception as a result of violent rape is in fact very rare. It seems to me that there will be problems over the definition of rape. Will there not be cases of “date rape” being claimed when in fact there was a measure of consent and thus use of the morning-after pill being claimed as legitimate? What inquiries should a hospital make before prescribing the drug? Or should they just accept the request of the woman regardless?

  • Not only “morning after pills” but all contraceptive pills also act as abortifacients – it is what helps to make them so “effective”. There is no way that any Catholic institution should prescribe them. However, as the German bishops seem to have very few Catholics among their number, it doesn’t surprise me.

    The only contraceptive pill that would not be an abortifacient would be the male pill. However, trials on that were scrapped when 5 blokes experienced swollen gonads – the fact that trials on the female pill saw the deaths of 10 women, these were considered trivial in comparison to some enlarged cojones. Contraception has always been about men creating women who are constantly sexually available, and the consequences for women have never figured in the equation.

  • confused

    “‘Though some recent studies of the drug have suggested it does not act as an abortifacient, one of the world’s top authorities on the drug says women must be told that it “may at times” cause an abortion.”

    “may cause” isn’t very useful information. Surely it is a question of what the risk is. There are many things that pregnant women are exposed to which may at times cause an abortion – Horse riding for example. We don’t regard all things which have a small be real risk of causing loss of a baby as immoral. Maybe we should?

  • Wake Up England

    So where does this leave the Irish bishops’ decision to stay completely silent as abortions are about to be provided in two Dublin, Catholic, hospitals?

    Is contraception and abortion now okay in one Catholic Country, but not in another?

    Do practising Catholic women in England now have to go to Ireland to get a Catholic abortion (unless they can afford to go privately to St John & St Elizabeth Catholic hospital in London).

  • Seán

    Does the statement of Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula take sufficient account of the risks of abortion? Given the imperative nature of his statement, it may need qualification.

  • Bosco

    “As scientific evidence grows that the morning-after pill is abortifacient will the German bishops reconsider their decision to allow Catholic hospitals to dispense the morning after pill?”

    I confess I don’t have a clue about the scientific input and theological rigour the German bishops may have initially applied in formulating their decision to approve the ‘morning after’ (not literally always) pill to prevent pregnancy following rape, however, the decision having been made, there must be regular and ongoing review and reassessment of the scientific data by the German bishops or their competent and medically-trained designees to assure the ‘morning after pill’ is truly a morally permissible prophylactic or a ‘mourning after pill’.

  • Joseph Matthew

    Off topic I know but I have just been reading that Pope Francis denounced clergy scandals and he is surely right to do so.
    But during Mass concelebrated with Cardinal Mahony?

  • kfca

    The thinking here seems to deeply flawed – the German bishops are co-operating in evil whatever way one looks at this. In all cases, if a pregnancy results, it is because that child was willed by God. We can, of ourselves, create nothing; we merely co-operate with God: we procreate.

    Hence, merely acting to prevent pregnancy itself, through deliberate intent, is always an act against the divine will i.e. it is always co-operating in evil. It may very well be the case that few pregnancies ever result from rape, but this is not the point. If a child has been conceived, an action which may also prevent implantation in the uterine wall and consequently cause the death of the child, is to further (massively) compound their sin. It does seem as if the German bishops merely consider these children to be ‘collateral damage’.

    Whenever we speak of pregnancy we must always remember that it is a reference to at least two people – both the mother and the child. Whenever we hear of a pregnancy our very first instinct should be to congratulate the woman on becoming a mother – rather than a ‘mother-to-be’.

    You wrote recently on the distinction between a shepherd and a hireling, and I was reminded also of Isaiah’s beautiful prophecy about Our Lord:
    “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather together the lambs with his arm, and shall take them up in his bosom, and he himself shall carry them that are with young.”

    Rape is a special, and very emotionally charged case; the woman who is raped has not co-operated in evil, she has been its victim. But the child who may result from the rape of his or her mother is a beautiful example of the good that God can and does draw from evil. Why should that child also become a (mortal) victim?

    Wasn’t the greatest ever Welshman, the Patron Saint of Wales to this day, conceived as a result of rape? (With no disrespect to his mother), thanks be to God he wasn’t German, and born into our time, or the German bishops may well have murdered him, among all their other victims.

    • Bosco

      Deeply flawed it may be, kfca, but the quotation preceding the comments reads:

      “The President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, explains the Church’s teaching on care for victims of rape as follows, ‘What Church teaching says in this case is: in cases of rape all possible action must be taken to prevent a pregnancy but not to interrupt it. Whether a given medicine is classed as a contraceptive or abortion-inducing medication, is up to doctors and scientists, not the Church.”

      • kfca

        There are so many fallacies and false dichotomies wafting around the Church these days, mostly under the umbrella of more ‘sensitive pastoral provision’, it is useful to recall the underlying facts.

        If an agency purporting to represent the Church teaches that it is acceptable to act to prevent conception in the extreme and relatively rare case of rape, while knowing, as it does, that man merely cooperates (voluntarily or not) in the creative act, then clearly it is advocating the deliberate thwarting of the will of Him Who brings all things into existence; through Whom all things are made.

        If this same agency is then made aware of the potential consequences of that act, as this bishop has now affirmed that they are, then clearly they become complicit in the resulting loss of life, and the loss of the immortal soul of every child conceived and destroyed through the administration of the Morning after pill in a Catholic Hospital, (and the sphere of influence of that which comes under the banner of ‘Official Church teaching’ has a far greater reach still. Any excuse regarding a lack of competence in this area is simply a case of them washing their hands of it.

        There are no victors down this path. There is no surety in numbers. Everyone involved loses.

        • Bosco

          Thanks for your further thoughts. To my mind, the ‘threshold issue’ (as we used to call it) is that the German bishops have approved the ‘morning after pill’ “in cases of victims of rape” (see the first sentence of Deacon Nick’s posting). I confess again I am not terribly familiar with the scientific input and theological rigour the German bishops thinking on this matter, but I do know that ‘rape’ is both a grave offence under the fifth Commandment, a serious crime, a crime which must be reported to the appropriate civil authorities and, in the case of a minor, clearly constitutes ‘child abuse’, an allegation which the physician or cleric is morally bound to report to the appropriate law enforcement authorities in most nations.
          I myself am opposed to the use of the ‘morning after pill’. Its abortifacient effect is too high to run the risk of foiling implantation of a fertilized egg. My own belief is that it is chiefly a ‘I had sex recently which I now regret, and I want you to do something about it pill’.
          I am not persuaded by your logic, moral, pastoral, and otherwise, in arriving at your conclusion that the prevention of ‘conception’ in every single circumstance thwarts “the Will of Him Who brings all things into existence”.
          There are pharmacological and other medical treatments, i.e. spermicide, saline douche, etc. which could be rendered to the rape victim which have (to my understanding) no risk of an abortafacient effect.
          God bless.

  • kfca

    No, I am grateful for your comments. Thank you. I do not disagree with almost all of that which you have said, and I do not belittle the very grave nature of an assault of this kind. A girl or woman who is raped would have a natural instinct to cleanse herself thoroughly, if not scrub herself raw. It should scarcely need to be stated that that would include the use of a douce of some kind. The intent would be one of cleansing, including the thorough removal of semen, not the prevention of pregnancy. That is very natural.

    The Morning after pill is always administered with the intent of preventing pregnancy and it seems, also runs the risk of inducing abortion.

    Your comment “an allegation which the physician or cleric …” is rather telling to my mind, (in this more universal context).

    God bless you.

  • Lynda

    There never was a doubt.

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